Most people think that once their batteries have run out of power then that is it, and they will need to be replaced. However, there are many ways that you can recondition and revive your old batteries and give them a new life.
In fact, although this may sound complicated, there are many easy methods that you can carry out yourself, provided that you have the appropriate equipment.
In this guide, we’ll be taking you through the easiest way that you can recondition a dead battery in a straightforward and practical manner.
Although there are many types of cells that can be reconditioned, this guide is specifically relating to dead batteries that can be reconditioned in the home.
We’ll be providing you with everything you need to know about battery reconditioning from what it means to the various benefits and a step-by-step guide on how you can recondition your old dead batteries with ease at home as well as other relevant information.
This will provide you with the confidence needed to recondition your old batteries with ease.
What Does Battery Reconditioning Mean?
The first thing you need to understand is what battery reconditioning actually means. This will give you further knowledge of what you can expect when you follow the method.
Battery reconditioning is when a battery is brought back to life boasting a standard electrolyte level and full charging capacity.
Regardless of what kind of car you have, it will have a battery that needs to be full of power in order to perform well.
When a battery has discharged, this means that lead sulfate crystals have begun to form around the plates and these crystals can negatively affect your battery’s ability to charge.
Here is a list of some batteries that can be reconditioned:
- 12v car batteries
- Gel batteries
- Golf cart batteries
- Lithium-ion batteries
- NiCad rechargeable batteries
- NiMH rechargeable batteries
- Prius batteries
This is just a small amount of batteries that can be reconditioned, meaning that there are even more that you are able to recondition and ensure they are giving the best performance.
What Are The Benefits Of Reconditioning A Dead Battery?
You may be thinking to yourself, why should I recondition my dead battery? What are the benefits? There are some major benefits that you need to bear in mind when it comes to reconditioning dead batteries. Here are the main ones:
The first benefit is that reconditioning old or dead batteries is a great alternative for those who live on a budget or have a limited income.
It is no secret that purchasing a new car battery is extremely costly and could put a dent in your savings. Therefore, learning how to recondition your old battery is a great way to ensure that you never have to splash out on a new car battery.
The second benefit is that it is a more environmentally friendly option for those who want to be more aware and cautious of their carbon footprint.
When old batteries are disposed of, they are actually harmful to the environment due to the lead-acid solution that has the potential to pollute the groundwater and soil, equating in severe health issues to the environment.
Learning New Skills
Lastly, learning how to recondition your old battery is a great new skill to have.
Not only does it give you a better understanding of your car and how well it is functioning, but you will find that you can be highly resourceful if your battery runs out while you are out and about.
Equally, for those looking for an extra source of income, you can make a lot of money from reconditioning old batteries and reselling them for a cheaper price than a new one.
Tips And Tricks To Stay Safe
There are many safety measures you have to take when it comes to reconditioning old batteries.
This is mainly due to the electrolyte that is located in the lead-acid battery that is highly corrosive and can be harmful, especially when it comes into contact with eyes, garments, and skin.
Here are just a few ways that you can stay safe when you are reconditioning your battery:
- Make sure that you always wear a pair of rubber gloves. This will mean that your hands are protected from the electrolyte solution that is highly acidic.
- Make sure that you always wear a pair of goggles to ensure that your eyes are receiving the best protection possible in case the solution splashes.
- Make sure that you wear an apron to ensure that your clothes are always protected from the corrosive solution.
- Make sure that you prepared a weaker solution made from a mix of distilled water and baking soda to help neutralize any electrolyte solution spillage.
- Make sure that you always work in an area that is well-ventilated to ensure that the heat and fumes from the electrolyte solution are certain to be dissipated and prevent you from inhaling a high amount of vapor.
By following all these steps, you are ensuring that you are working in the safest possible environment with a limited amount of risk.
It’s always best to ensure that you are thoroughly prepared, especially when it comes to transferring the electrolyte solutions across to the battery as this will limit the risk of accident or injury.
Now that you know what to expect, you’re ready to learn how you can recondition old or dead batteries. In this section, we’ll be providing you with everything you need to know as well as a step-by-step guide.
Make sure that you read this thoroughly before attempting to do it yourself in order to be as safe and prepared as possible.
The Materials That You Will Need
Before you begin, you will need to make sure that you have the appropriate materials. Here is a list of the materials that you will need:
- Baking soda
- Battery reconditioning charger
- Disposable rubber gloves
- Distilled water
- Epsom salt
- Screwdriver with a flat head
Once you have gathered all the above materials, you will need to carry out the following instructions:
1. Protect Yourself
The first thing you need to do is ensure that you are as protected as possible.
This means making sure that you are wearing all the safety gear listed above: your apron, goggles, and rubber gloves, to ensure that your skin, eyes, and clothes are all protected.
Also, make sure that the area that you are working in is well-ventilated to ensure that all the fumes will dissipate at a faster rate to prevent you from inhaling any poisonous and harmful fumes.
It’s also best to have some water nearby in case of any spillage on your clothes or skin as an extra precaution.
2. Prep The Battery
Once you are confident that you are as protected as possible, make sure that you prep your battery by ensuring that the terminals are cleaned and free from any buildup of salt and corrosion.
Also, make sure that the battery has been completely detached or removed throughout the process.
If you find that there is evidence of corrosion in your battery, you can use a baking soda solution to clean the corrosion away.
When making your solution, it’s best to combine a baking soda and water mix at a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio, depending on the level of the corrosion.
Bear in mind that any salt buildup or corrosion found in the battery terminals is acidic, so the cleaning solution will assist in neutralizing the area before reconditioning.
Mix your baking soda and water in a separate container until you are confident that you have achieved a paste or gritty textured solution and then clean the terminals by dipping a toothbrush in the solution and scrubbing away at the terminals.
If there is evidence of heavy corrosion, then you may have to use something more robust such as sandpaper grit, a steel brush, or steel wool as this provides a higher level of abrasion which will be more effective in removing the corrosion.
3. Checking Your Battery’s Voltage Level
Once you have prepped your battery, you need to ensure that your battery’s voltage level is acceptable or not in order to be reconditioned. The best way to do this is by using a voltmeter that can be bought from any electronic store.
Voltmeters consist of two wires that have a metal clip at each end of the cable. One of the wires is black, and the other is red to symbolize the negative terminal and positive terminal, respectively.
In order to use the voltmeter, make sure that you connect the appropriate cable to the right terminal as previously stated.
Once this is done, the reading will appear and a good indication of whether the car battery is in good condition is if it provides a reading of 12.6 volts or above.
This is because it is highly likely that when the battery is installed in the car and then the engine is switched on, the reading is likely to be between 13.7 volts and 14.7 volts.
If your voltmeter gives a reading that is below 12.4 volts, then this is a sign that your battery will need reconditioning. It’s always best to keep a record of your battery’s voltage when you test it.
4. Removing The Old Electrolyte Solution And Washing The Battery Plates
Now, we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of the reconditioning process.
Before you begin this step, make sure that you have the bucket to hand to ensure that you can pour the older electrolyte solution into it as well as a weak baking soda solution to assist in neutralizing any spillage that may occur when you empty the battery.
Once you have everything in place, you will need to remove your battery caps using the flat head screwdriver and then secure these battery caps into a nearby container.
Now, list the battery slowly, and then pour the electrolyte solution inside the battery into your bucket. If any spillage occurs, do not panic! Simply pour a lot of baking soda solution onto the area, and it will neutralize it.
Once you have poured the old electrolyte solution into the bucket, you will need to neutralize the solution in the bucket by pouring half a pound of baking soda powder into it.
Another option is to make a neutralizing solution that consists of baking soda and water with a 3:1 ratio, respectively. Make sure that you don’t dispose of the solution just yet and place it to the side for now.
You will now have to clean the battery plates by making a neutralization solution that consists of baking soda and water with a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio, respectively.
Once this is complete, make sure that you fill the battery cells to the fullest level and then close it using the battery caps.
Lift the battery and then shake it for between 30 seconds and a minute. Let it sit for an extra minute and this will allow the solution to work its magic. Once this minute is done, unscrew the battery caps and pour the solution into the bucket.
You may want to check your bucket’s pH level before disposing of its content. It will ideally have a neutral pH level between 6.8 and 7.2.
If it is still too acidic, then add more neutralization solution until it reaches this level. Then you will need to contact Earth911 for further instructions on how you can dispose of the bucket’s contents.
5. Reconditioning Your Batteries
Now your battery is ready to be reconditioned. This means you will need to fill your battery with a new electrolyte solution. To create your electrolyte solution, make a mix of Epsom salt and distilled water.
The solution will need to be approximately 1molar meaning that you should dissolve around 120 grams of the Epsom salt into a liter of distilled water. If you are not confident that the Epsom salt has been fully dissolved, you can warm the water slightly.
Once this solution has been prepared, you will need to fill the battery cells to their fullest level with the solution and then cover the cells using the battery caps. This now means that your battery is ready to be recharged.
6. Charging Your Refilled Battery
To recharge your newly refilled battery, you will need to get your battery charger and then connect the appropriate cables to the respective terminal.
Remember that the black wire should be connected to the negative terminal and the red wire will be connected to the positive terminal.
Select the slow mode charging condition which is approximately 2 amps for 12 volts and then leave it be for between 24 and 36 hours.
Once this time has passed, detach the battery charger and then measure your battery’s voltage in the same way as before. If your battery is in perfect condition, the voltage should measure between 12.4 volts and 12.6 volts.
7. Load Testing
Lastly, you will need to subject your battery to load testing by using a battery load tester. This can be bought in a hardware store. In order to pass, the battery will have to be able to sustain 9.6 volts for approximately 15 seconds at half the CCA rating.
CCA means Cold Cranking Amps and a general rule of thumb is that the higher the battery’s CCA rating, the better its performance will be.
The CCA rating decreases over time, especially during colder seasons; therefore, it’s essential that you keep an eye on this throughout the year to ensure that your car is performing as it should.
If your battery does not pass the load test, then it will need to be discharged and recharged accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Baking Soda Bring A Battery Back To Life?
Baking soda is one of the ways that you can bring your battery back to life. To use this method, combine half a pound of baking soda with half a gallon of distilled water before pouring the solution into the battery without letting it overfill.
This should help to revive your dead battery.
Can Old Dead Batteries Be Revived?
Old dead batteries can be revived with some methods being easier than others depending on what resources you have and where you are.
For example, if you are at home and have all the equipment needed, you can most likely do it yourself. However, if you are in the middle of nowhere and don’t have the resources, you will have to call for professional health.
Is There A Way To Recondition Old Batteries?
There are alternative ways that you can recondition old batteries by removing the current battery acid with a new acid that has been mixed with distilled.
Once you have filled the battery with the new acid, allow it to charge for a minimum of three hours. This will provide you with an energized battery that will perform for six to seven years.
In conclusion, there are many methods that can be used to recondition old batteries, depending on where you are and what resources you have at your disposal.
For example, if you are in your garage and have all the equipment needed, you’ll be able to recondition the battery with ease.
However, if you are out and about and your car’s battery runs out, and you don’t have resources, you may have to contact professional help which can be costly.
The best way to try out these methods is by reconditioning a battery in the comfort of your own home. Make sure that you follow the above steps closely to prevent any mistakes from occurring.